Platform: PS, Xbox One & PS4
Release Date: Out Now
The decision to move to an annual release for the Assassin’s Creed franchise is starting to take its toll on the series. As always it looks amazing, offers hours of gameplay and can be a lot of fun. However changing the location and characters is not enough to hide the aging recycled gameplay. Syndicate is an amazing game if taken on its own, but as the 9th title in the series, it feels like we have seen everything it has to offer.
The series has always set you in a massive stunning city bustling with life and this year is no different. The UK capital has seen its most well known landmarks recreated with stunning attention to detail, although their location in the city has been changed slightly for a better fit. Set in 1868 with the industrial revolution is in full swing. This age of innovation brings many leaps forward in terms of technology, it has not been particularly beneficial to the lower class who are used as little more than legal slaves. The working poor are starting to unit in the underworld and form new criminal gangs, this is an opportunity for our two heroes to make their impact.
As with all the games in the series they like to mix real life historical figures and locations with the fictional storyline. This year sees Charles Dickens, Alexander Graham Bell and Florence Nightingale to name a few assist our two heroes in taking back the city from under the control of the Templars.
The big change is that our two main characters are both playable, while you are pre-set a character for the story missions you can freely swap between them in free play. The male character is a cliché big dumb man that likes to punch things, and the female character is a cliché smarter than her brother character, but this gives you the option of playing as a fighter or playing a little stealthier. Despite this split both characters are likable and interact well together making the game a much more pleasant experience.
Open world games divide opinion, while creating something of this scale is an amazing achievement and offers hours of gameplay, when so much of that gameplay is repetitive you begin to question its true value. If you have played the series then you know the set up. Unlock territories, to unlock more side quests and collectibles. Spend hours doing these missions for no real benefit other than to fill time and XP.
However others don’t mind that, they like that they are free to roam and carry out small tasks. They like the idea of just spending time with the game and enjoying it, that not every moment needs to see you funneled through the main story, that often the beauty of open world is just that it is open. Syndicate offers these optional side missions in a very organic way.
As you work your way through the city and story you need to enlist the help of the criminal underworld which makes up the bulk of your work as Jacob, Evie on the other hand is more refined and can see the bigger picture in terms of the Assassin’s long term goal of collecting the remaining pieces of Eden. It is a balance that works and gives both sides of the story their own focus. The story is fun and despite the low key ending the overall experience was enjoyable.
Overall: On its own Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is a fun adventure that offers hours of gameplay and huge value for money. However, if like me you have played every title in the series some of the extra side missions and repetitive unlocking of territories are becoming a bit of a chore. I would like to see the series reinvent itself and break free from the same safe format.